Activity Time: Say goodbye to mental burnout

Verb Charades with Shurley English.jpg

In some of my previous posts, I have touched upon the importance of keeping kids moving in the classroom.  Physical movement wakes up their brains, gets their blood flowing, and it’s just plain fun. While many of us typically seek comfort and routine in our daily lives, students in a classroom don’t always need that kind of comfort.  Yes, routines can help people stay focused and build self-discipline, but too much routine can also turn us into rigid creatures of habit. In my experience, students are more focused when classroom routines are followed, but there are also great benefits when they step away from the daily grind, and get moving. This is the ideal way to help them avoid mental burnout. 

When you add something out of the ordinary to your classroom activities, your students liven up.  I have found that the key to success in the classroom is the right mix of consistency and novelty, which can add just the right amount of spice!  The rhythm of Shurley English lessons provides day-to-day consistency and routine to keep students fully engaged in learning Language Arts.  However, students need something fresh and new to avoid mental burn-out.  Adding some creative flare to your Shurley English lessons can help you meet the needs of all learning styles and keep the learning process alive in your classroom.  When teachers integrate a healthy balance of consistency, practice, repetition, and differentiated activities, all students can enjoy success!

Take, for example, a simple game of charades.  This super activity engages the brain and has a powerful impact on kinesthetic and visual learners.  If you love to see students having fun while learning, here are a couple of ways you can make it happen when teaching verbs and imperative sentences, using charades:

Verb Charades

Supplies needed:  note cards

To reinforce verbs, make a list of simple action verbs and write each verb on an index card. Next, divide your students into teams. Then, one student from a team will draw a card and act out the action verb while their teammates attempt to guess the verb. If the student’s team guesses his/her action correctly, the team receives one point.

Imperative Charades

Supplies needed:  paper, pencil, note cards

To practice imperative sentences, have each student write a list of imperative sentences that can be acted out. (Examples: Close the door. Open a book.) Next, divide students into pairs and have them take turns reading their sentences. (This is the time to ensure each sentence is truly imperative.) Then, have students write each imperative sentence on a notecard. Gather all the notecards and mix them up. Now, it’s time to form teams and play Imperative Charades. One student from a team will draw a card and act out the command while their teammates attempt to guess the command. If the student’s team guesses his/her command correctly, the team receives one point.

These activities are sure to ward off the mental burnout that can sometimes set in at this time of year. So, liven up your classroom with a game of charades; it might be just the ticket to restore focus and energy!

Activity Time: Understanding Verb Tenses

Verb Tenses with Shurley English.jpg

Did you know that a verb can tell time?  It’s true!  Within every verb is a little piece of information called tense. The tense of the verb tells you when the action of the verb takes place. Mastering the use of correct verb tense is a critical skill that allows a speaker or writer to purposefully convey “time.” 

Do some of your students struggle to understand the difference between simple present, past, and future tense verbs?  If so, Shurley English has an activity that just might help them comprehend verb tense with more clarity!  Follow along, and I’ll show you how it’s done!

1. Give students a paragraph that is written in present tense:

Present Tense Verbs with Shurley English.png

2. Have students identify all the verbs in the paragraph by highlighting or underlining them:

Present Tense Verbs II with Shurley English.png

3. Next, ask students to write the verbs in order on a separate sheet of paper and verify that they are written in present-tense:

Verbs 1 with SHurley English.png

4. During the next step, ask students to change the present-tense verbs to past-tense.  

Tip:  If you want to change a present-tense paragraph to a past-tense paragraph, you must change each verb to past-tense, one at a time.  Example:

Verbs 2 with Shurley English.png

5. Finally, have students rewrite the original paragraph, inserting the past tense verbs in place of the present tense verbs:

Past Tense Verbs with Shurley English.png

This activity purposely focuses students’ attention on the tense of each verb in the passage.  It teaches students to use consistent tense to show actions that occur at the same time.  If they want to change a present-tense paragraph to a past-tense paragraph, students learn that all they have to do is change each verb to past tense, one at a time!   

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Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.